© Star photo by Geraldine Brophy
Rikki LaCour, a 12-year-old Grade 7 student at G. C. Rowe Junior High in Corner Brook, will be making her championship debut at the provincial short course championships in Gander this weekend.
CORNER BROOK Bruce Hamlyn doesnât see anything holding Rikki LaCour back from achieving success in the pool.
LaCour, a 12-year-old Grade 7 student at G. C. Rowe Junior High in Corner Brook, is one of the budding swimmers coming up through the ranks of the Corner Brook Rapids Swim Club under head coach Hamlyn.
The Rapids is sending a group of swimmers to the provincial short course championships at the Gander Community Centre this weekend and it will be a special occasion for LaCour.
She will be making her championship debut after qualifying in the 400-metre freestyle a few months ago at a time trial held by the club.
âIâfeel really proud about the work I put in to get my champs time,â LaCour said during a school lunch break earlier this week. âIâve only been to a couple of meets and itâs my first champâ so Iâm really excited.â
Coach Hamlyn believes LaCour has every reason to feel good about acomplishing a major goal so early in her development.
LaCour took swimming lessons some six years ago and being a competitive swimmer wasnât something she set out to do at that time. Hamlyn decided back in October that the time had arrived for the young swimmer to pursue the competitive side of the sport and it proved to be something both the athlete and her parents â Trudy and Rick LaCour â were on board with from the time he brought up the idea.
Earning a qualifying time for the first time was something that didnât happen overnight, however.
LaCourâs best time in the 400-m freestyle up until October was six minutes and 35 seconds, way off the qualifying mark of 6:12 she needed to earn a trip to Gander this weekend. Getting that goal accomplished sooner rather than later was something both the athlete and parents were really eager to have happen.
âItâs time for her to step it up and work a lot harder and she more than answered the challenge,â coach Hamlyn said of how things unfolded in her quest to qualify.
The swim club actually held a time trial with LaCourâs quest part of the reason. Hamlyn was pleased to see her rise to the occasion. She worked hard six days a week with early morning rises no big deal as she forged ahead on a mission that was accomplished when she beat the qualifying time by three seconds.
Iâfeel really proud about the work Iâput in to get my âchampsâ time. Rikki LaCour, swimmer
âMore than the times, it was the hard work she put in,â Hamlyn said. âJust doing everything that I asked of her. Hard work paid off for her.â
He sees a bright future for LaCour in the pool. He believes she has impressive core strength to build upon as she starts to make waves in the pool on the provincial scene now that sheâs arrived.
âItâs just a matter of getting her in that spot that she can really do what the best is she can possibly do,ââhe said.
LaCour is fully immersed in swimming because it simply provides her with an environment that allows her to have fun and meet other athletes through travelling to various meets both on and off the island. She doesnât dabble in other sports, prefering instead to focus all of her time and energy on seeing how far she can take her swimming skillset.
Sheâs quite fine with a swimmerâs life.
âI donât really mind it because Iâm pretty good at it and Iâm working really hard at it,â she said.
One championship time to her credit, now itâs time for her to get No. 2 and thatâs what she hopes to accomplish this weekend when she hits the water for the 200-m freestyle.
Sheâs confident it will all work in her favour in Gander.
âIâm only one second away from getting the champs time,ââshe said.
âYeah, Iâm pretty ready for it.â
Hamlyn sees LaCour as a budding star ready to take her place in the echelons of provincial swimming.
âShe wants to catch up to all her friends who are 12 years old and I think the momentum sheâs got going will have her swimming just as well as the best in the province that we have on our team right now,ââhe said. âWe have the best 12-year-old girls in the province on our team. Absolutely, thatâs where the strength of our team is right now.â